Alpha to Omega of Our Athens Nostalgia: O is for O w l

You had expected to find Chris Marker’s The Owl’s Legacy somewhere at documenta 14, perhaps as a reference in one of the publications or mentioned in passing in a line of wall text, but not in the form of a usb key hanging from a piece of string. When you made an unplanned visit to Elpidos 13, near Victoria Square and Rick Lowe’s Victoria Square Project – an expansive dialogue with members of the neighborhood -, you discovered that someone had copied all 13 episodes of Marker’s television series on ancient Greece and its legacy onto a usb-key because, to quote the typewritten text from which it hung: ‘some works need to be relentlessly shared [and] this is one of them’. Thinking back to the list of Marker’s episodes (with the title of each in caps and in red, e.g. NOSTALGIA: or the impossible return), you were stuck by how the last one PHILOSOPHY: or the triumph of the O w l, was written with the final emphatic word typed with extra spaces between the letters. You enjoyed this additional emphasis on this bird’s enduring legacy and how, from the ancient Athenian tetradrachm to the symbol of documenta 14, it still had such currency when sent back to Athens. Do you think we’re spending it well?

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